Recruiting, Talent

5 Tips for Writing Better E-mail Subject Lines

Are you reaching out to a potential candidate for the first time via e-mail or LinkedIn® InMail? If so, you’ll want to make sure your subject lines are effective. There are fewer things more frustrating than pouring time and energy into e-mails only to see them go unopened.


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If you’re finding that your e-mails are going unnoticed, it may be time to take a look at your subject lines and find a way to make them more enticing. Here are five tips for writing better e-mail subject lines that will get your e-mails opened and lead to a better candidate experience.

1. Keep a Swipe File on Subject Lines of E-Mails You’ve Opened

You’re probably on a few e-mail lists. Look at the subject lines: what makes you want to open them? Are there any patterns of words you’ve found particularly intriguing or sentence structures that seem natural? Keep a file of subject lines and try to implement the same tactics (without blatant copying, of course.)

2. Implement Personalization and Name Recognition

Consider adding the receiver’s first name to your subject line to stand out and give a feeling of familiarity. Not only are you sending the candidate an e-mail that addresses him or her, personally, you’re also showing the candidate that you’re not using a canned message that is designed to go to the masses.

3. Entice the Candidate to Read More with a Compelling Subject Line

It’s no surprise that e-mails featuring “Job opportunity” in the subject line go unnoticed. Not only does this look like spam to many, but it’s also not very appealing.
Instead, try elaborating on the job opportunity you’re offering the candidate. As Angie Verros, speaker at RecruitCon 2018, has previously explained, “have a compelling subject line that will entice the candidate to read more. After all, that is the first thing the candidate will see. You’ll need to be creative to make contact.”

4. Don’t List the Job Description

Granted, the subject line is a rather small area to be listing an entire job description, so it’s best to keep that out entirely. And again, Verros says to keep the job description out of the e-mail altogether.
You want to attract the candidate to open your e-mail and engage in the recruiting process, don’t scare them away with a boring job description that just lists responsibilities and requirements. Once you’ve hooked the candidate into a conversation, that’s the best time to lay out what the employer is looking for.

5. Try A/B Testing

A/B testing is used a lot in the marketing and retail industries and there’s no reason why recruiters can’t use this exact method in candidate communications. A/B testing, if you’re unfamiliar with the term, involves mass communicating the same message, but with different subject lines. If you’re reaching out to a mass quantity of people with the same message, try using different subject lines to see which one resonates best with candidates.
Over time, you’ll learn which subject lines work best for attracting candidates to open and read your communications, but if you’re just getting started, the five tips outlined above will point you in the right direction.
Learn new candidate communication strategies when you join Barb Bruno for the breakout session: Candidate Communication Checklist: How to Ramp Up Engagement and Combat Counter Offers, at RecruitCon 2019. Click here to learn more, or to register today!